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Nissan X-Trail E-Power 2023 review


X-Trail’s novel hybrid system trails RAV4 for fuel efficiency but beats the Toyota on refinement – this is a relaxed and comfortable family SUV

Good points

  • Reasonably fuel efficient
  • More refined than rivals
  • Decent acceleration
  • Supple ride quality
  • Lots of equipment
  • Value for money

Needs work

  • Thirstier than RAV4 hybrid
  • $4200 hybrid premium
  • Cheaper 2WD model not sold here
  • Expensive servicing
  • Lacks seat cooling
  • No spare wheel

If you’re looking for the most fuel efficient hybrid-powered midsize SUV, the new X-Trail E-Power hybrid isn’t that car – it’s the Toyota RAV4. Nissan acknowledges this, saying it pursued next-level refinement over beating the Toyota on economy.

Refreshing honesty, certainly. And the move is a smart one: while the Toyota RAV4 has earned its stripes as a seriously economical family hauler, its key weakness is its raucous petrol engine that totally disrupts the quietness of the hybrid system on the move.

By contrast, the Nissan X-Trail E-Power hybrid is considerably more serene. It uses a smaller but torquier 1.5-litre turbo engine, for starters, and this unit is used to charge the battery or drive electric motors, rather than the wheels – so RPMs are kept lower and quieter when the engine is needed.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power rear 3/4 driving

So while the X-Trail knowingly sacrifices some fuel efficiency, delivering 7.0L/100km on our real-world road-trip test, it is simply more relaxing to drive than its key rival, delivering good performance and quick overtaking without causing a huge din.

If you’re reading this and nodding along, as somebody that prefers not to listen to a coarse and thrashing engine, you might find much of the rest of the $57,190 X-Trail Ti-L E-Power experience alluring. This is a comfortable, well-sorted SUV – though it isn’t perfect.

What are the X-Trail Ti-L E-Power’s features and options for the price?

Nissan Australia has decided to offer its E-Power hybrid engine only on the two most expensive X-Trail trim grades: the Ti and Ti-L.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power side angle at dam

For both, the hybrid version is $4200 dearer than the standard, non-hybrid, non-turbo 2.5-litre petrol engine. Otherwise, the specification is relatively similar to the conventional cars.

Later, Nissan might bring E-Power to the cheaper ST and ST-L X-Trail models, if customers demand it – and there’s also the option to do a more affordable two-wheel-drive (2WD) version of the X-Trail hybrid, seen in other markets. For now, it’s AWD only in Australia.

Standard features across both grades of X-Trail hybrid include:

  • Black grille (unique to E-Power)
  • Matrix LED headlights
  • Panoramic opening sunroof
  • Heated and 10-way power-adjustable front seats
  • Sliding rear seats
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Three-zone climate control
  • 12.3-inch touchscreen
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • 10.8-inch colour heads-up display
  • Satellite navigation, DAB digital radio
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto
  • Power tailgate

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power rear 3/4 side profile buildings

This review focusses on the top-end, $57,190 X-Trail Ti-L E-Power model. Opting for the flagship over the $3000-cheaper Ti adds the following features:

  • 20-inch alloys (replacing 19-inch wheels)
  • Quilted nappa leather seat upholstery
  • Front seat memory function
  • Heated rear seats
  • 10-speaker Bose premium stereo
  • Motion-activation function for the power tailgate
  • Manual rear door sunshades
  • Privacy glass
  • Remote engine start

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power by the water side profile

Notable omissions to the X-Trail Ti-L E-Power’s specifications include available seat cooling (standard on the RAV4 Cruiser hybrid), and Android users will note they’ll need a cable for smartphone mirroring despite CarPlay being wireless.

Plus, there’s no spare wheel and tyre for the X-Trail E-Power due to packaging constraints, which could be a frustration for some buyers.

How does the X-Trail Ti-L E-Power drive?

We’ll get to the hybrid stuff in a moment: it’s worth noting up front that, hybrid or not, the X-Trail is a good SUV to drive because Nissan has decided to make this car comfortable, rather than sporty.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power dirt road driving

Many Australian families will prefer the X-Trail’s supple demeanour to SUVs that are tuned to be quite sporty, like the Mazda CX-5, but that occasionally ride firmly over some bumps.

The comfy ride even extends to this Ti-L E-Power, which has the largest wheels (at 20 inches) and lowest-profile tyres of the X-Trail range.

Occasionally the road surface makes its presence known – and the Ti E-Power’s 19-inch wheels offer a bit more compliance – but even the top-end grade with big wheels is one of the best family SUVs for ride comfort.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power side angle wheel and badge

However, the trade-off does mean that the X-Trail’s handling doesn’t feel nearly as keen as the Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Escape or Mazda CX-5, all of which make cornering more fun.

That said, while on the Australian launch of the X-Trail hybrid we tackled about 400km of challenging Queensland hinterland roads and found the Nissan more than up to the task, demonstrating decent body control and remarkable grip.

It’s also a remarkably quiet car, even on coarse-chip B-roads that typically send a nasty din into the cabin of cars without enough sound insulation.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power side profile dirt road

Perhaps the X-Trail E-Power’s additional 7 kg of sound-deadening material over the regular model helps out here – but primarily, the damping is meant to quieten down the 1.5-litre turbo engine and retain cabin serenity under throttle.

Put simply, that’s worked: the X-Trail strikes a more pleasant balance between power, refinement and economy than the RAV4 if what you are after is quiet, punchy progress – and you don’t mind it costing you an additional 1-2L/100km at the bowser.

The way the E-Power system works is complicated, but essentially, the 1.5-litre turbo engine revs at a range of fixed RPMs depending on the vehicle speed, and the engine never exceeds 2400 rpm under 50 percent throttle.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power engine bay

So, for most drivers, the engine will be effectively silent for the vast majority of driving. There’s enough torque in the system that exceeding 50 percent throttle is really only necessary for overtaking or merging onto a highway.

Do this and the engine is audible but only in a distant way, as it works to top up the X-Trail’s 2.1kWh (1.8kWh usable) lithium-ion battery stored beneath the front seats.

Most of the time the engine only comes on to restore the battery to full charge – the car then runs as an EV while the small battery runs down to the 25 percent level over five or six kilometres.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power hybrid energy screen

When you’re climbing long hills, though, the engine will drive the motors through the inverter rather than replenishing the battery – but there is surprisingly no link between the engine and the wheels themselves. 

One byproduct of this fascinating solution is that the X-Trail E-Power has some EV-like characteristics: the throttle is quite touchy due to the availability of instant torque from the dual motors – you need to moderate your foot sensitivity, in fact.

Plus, there is an E-Pedal button on the centre stack that enables EV-like strong regenerative braking. Sometimes, this feature worked well, but it is inconsistent in application because once the X-Trail’s small battery is topped up, it can’t regenerate any further. If you’ve trained yourself to let E-Pedal do the braking, sometimes it can’t slow the car down for you.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power e-force badge

Performance is slated to be acceptable, with Nissan claiming a flat 7.0 sec 0-100km/h time for the X-Trail E-Power. We’ll test that independently soon.

What is the X-Trail Ti-L E-Power’s interior and tech like?

If you own a previous-generation X-Trail, the cabin of the new-gen car will be night-and-day different. Nissan paid a lot of attention to getting the interior’s layout and materials right, and they have landed on a semi-premium execution. This is a nice place to spend time.

That’s especially true of this top-end Ti-L grade, which goes a long way to justifying its circa-$62K driveaway price by lavishing the comfortable seats with quilted nappa leather available in a no-cost choice of black or caramel/tan.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power front seats wide

Our time testing the X-Trail E-Power was across a warm couple of days and we would have liked to use seat cooling – as in the Toyota RAV4 Cruiser or Volkswagen Tiguan Elegance – but the X-Trail only nabs seat and steering wheel heating, which seems Europe-orientated.

Still, the pews have extensive adjustment and impressively, power-adjustable lumbar is standard on both front seats on both X-Trail hybrid grades. That’s usually missing in action even on top-end cars in this segment, and helps passengers achieve good back support on long trips.

Tech-wise, the X-Trail E-Power scores twin 12.3-inch screens: a central touchscreen running the brand’s new infotainment software, and a digital instrument cluster offering different views – compass, media, and trip information being three – plus a well-judged home screen that shows a bit of everything.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power Apple CarPlay centre touchscreen

Plus, there’s a 10.8-inch colour heads-up display that we could see through polarised sunglasses quite well.

Music fans will want to go for the Ti-L to access its upgraded, ten-speaker Bose stereo, though the standard audio system in the Ti is competent. Both variants score an opening panoramic sunroof.

Soft materials cover most surfaces and in execution, the X-Trail feels closer to the plush Mazda CX-5 than the more spartan RAV4 or Tiguan in terms of execution.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power back seats

Moving to the back seats, it’s worth pointing out that X-Trail E-Power buyers in some overseas markets get the option of a small third row. You can select this in non-hybrid versions of the X-Trail in Australia.

There’s no restriction on Nissan Australia bringing the seven-seater X-Trail hybrid here in future, and if customer demand is there, it will do so.

Still, as a five-seater the X-Trail is quite roomy. It uses stadium-style seating to elevate back seat passengers above the eyeline of those up front, likely to help avert car-sickness, albeit at the cost of some headroom for very tall people.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power boot open

There are air vents and USB ports in the back row for entertainment and air purposes – though the flip-down armrest is actually just the middle seat folded, exposing the boot, which could be a little dangerous if something back there shifts. 

Speaking of the boot, it’s a big and square space sitting behind a standard power tailgate, to which the Ti-L adds a kick sensor for automatic opening when your hands are full.

At 575 litres, the X-Trail’s boot is one of the biggest in this class, but there is no spare wheel seated beneath the floor.

Is the X-Trail Ti-L E-Power a safe car?

Safety-wise, the X-Trail E-Power is covered by the model’s five-star crash and safety result bestowed by Australian body ANCAP in 2021 under that year’s protocols.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power night shot

Unusually, the entire X-Trail model line’s crash testing results were based on testing of the smaller and distinct Qashqai model. ANCAP says that Nissan provided it with documentation and additional testing that showed that the Qasqhai’s five-star result should also apply to the X-Trail.

On our extensive drive with the X-Trail, we sampled the adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assistance features, both of which were reasonably well-tuned – but the lane-keeping was a bit overzealous with road edges and centre lines while cornering.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power by the water side profile

The following safety systems are standard on the X-Trail, mostly as part of the car’s Pro Pilot intelligent safety suite:

  • Acoustic vehicle alert (unique to E-Power)
  • Lane keeping assistance
  • Forwards AEB with car, cyclist and pedestrian detection
  • Junction AEB
  • Reversing AEB
  • Blind spot monitoring and intervention
  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • 360-degree camera

What are the X-Trail Ti-L E-Power’s ownership costs?

Where the X-Trail E-Power really suffers compared to the RAV4 hybrid is in its ongoing costs. It’s less fuel efficient – and Nissan justifies this in part through superior refinement – but it is also far more expensive to service.

Plus it’s inconvenient. The X-Trail E-Power demands a service every 12 months or 10,000 km, compared to every 15,000 km like the Toyota, and most other rivals.

Run the X-Trail E-Power for five years / 50,000 km and it will set you back $2353 in service costs compared to $1300 for the Toyota (and that car gives you 75,000 km for that price).

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power side angle at dam

Fuel-wise, the X-Trail demands 95 octane premium petrol or better, which is more expensive than standard-issue E10 or 91 octane gasoline but is cleaner.

For the X-Trail Ti-L E-Power, Nissan claims fuel economy of 6.5L/100km for urban use and 5.8L/100km on the highway. Over our drive, which took in mainly highway and country roads, we got a figure of 7.0L/100km.

That’s still reasonably good and would mean you’d spend around $2100 per year in petrol costs if you did 15,000 km per year and fuel costs remained around $2.00 per litre.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power rear badging

Because of its decently large 55-litre fuel tank, the X-Trail’s range as-tested would be 785 km.

Warranty-wise, the X-Trail is covered by Nissan Australia’s five-year, unlimited-kilometre plan.

The honest verdict on the X-Trail Ti-L E-Power

It’s clear that for many Australian families, midsize EVs are still a bit too expensive – mainly costing around $70,000 or higher. While EVs have big tax advantages for some buyers, especially salary-sacrificers, these often don’t extend as far for private customers.

Because of that, Nissan has correctly identified that there will be demand for a while longer for a relatively efficient hybrid SUV that doesn’t need to be charged with a plug.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power on road grass blur

Clearly, that is demand from tens of thousands of Aussies that Toyota has enjoyed soaking up with its range of hybrid SUVs for some time. Nissan will now join the party with this X-Trail E-Power hybrid, and soon, with the smaller Qashqai E-Power.

Simply put, the X-Trail hybrid isn’t as frugal as its key rival but it feels more serene, offering up a good blend of decent performance and admirable cabin refinement.

Plus, the cabin itself feels quite luxurious, and the pricing overall seems fair.

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L E-Power on road front 3/4

Supply will no doubt be tight and some dealers and buyers are already reporting six-month wait times for the Ti-L E-Power model – though that’s a lot shorter than 18 months for a RAV4 Cruiser hybrid.

However, a hybrid is just one step on the journey to electric family motoring.

While we’re happy to see Nissan introduce helpful E-Power tech in Australia, the next expectation on the company is that it secures a local allocation of the fully-electric Ariya midsize SUVs for buyers ready to take the plunge to EV.

Overall rating
Overall rating
Overall rating
Approximate on‑road price Including registration and government charges

Key specs (as tested)

1497 cc
157kW at 4600rpm
250Nm at 2400rpm
Power to weight ratio
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
55 litres
6.1L/100km (claimed)
Average Range
901km (claimed)
Four Wheel Drive
Single gear
4680 mm
1840 mm
1725 mm
Unoccupied weight
1883 kg

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